Page images
PDF
EPUB

melo-drama, and that he was in a frightful state of excitement and disorder. “ We are come,” he said, “ to name thee * king ; but we will have thee alone we will have neither peers nor deputies--they are all rascals. Thou art a good prince—thou wilt govern

well-and that's all we want!” The prince, exceedingly astonished at the tone and expressions of the speaker, replied, that if he were to be king, he would only be so on condition of having both peers and deputies. The man replied, but with more respect, dropping the thee and thou, Well, settle that as you like, only we will have you for king.”

p. 131.

Well may Mazas liken this fellow to the couspirator in a melodrame,he was, no doubt, one of the dramatis persone de la comédie de quinze ans,' and, we have little doubt, belonged to the same clique' which had the night before composed the mob at Neuilly, and his arrival was, we are equally convinced, so timed as to coincide with the visit of M. de Mortemart. That great historian and prophet of human nature, Shakspeare, has, with miraculous sagacity, exposed, two hundred years before it was acted, M. Latitte's drama — a drama which seems to have had its due effect on the simplicity of M. Mazas, and perhaps of M, de Mortemart.

* Duke.--Alas! Why would you heap those cares on me?
I am unfit for state and majesty:
I do beseech you, take it not amiss,
I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.

Buckingham.- If you refuse it, as in love and zeal,
Loalh to depose the child your brother's son,
Yet know, whether you accept our suit or no,
Your brother's son shall never reign our king;
But we will plant some other in your throne,
To the disgrace and downfall of your house ;
And in this resolution here we leave you.
Come, Citizens, we will intreat no more! (Exeunt.)
Catesby-(Aide-de-Camp). - Call them again, sweet prince,

accept their suit :
If you deny them, all the land will rue it.
. Duke. - Will

you enforce me to a world of cares ? Well, call them again—I am not made of stone."-Richard III., Act 3. Sc. 7.

Mazas, under the influence of the Duke's professed reluctance, adds a curious and rather mysterious observation :

• There occurred subsequently many important circumstances highly honourable to the Duke of Orleans, but considerations of a higher interest forbid my revealing them.'-p. 132.

These no doubt were circumstances indicative of his royal highness's fidelity to the king, and his regret at the revolution, and * The use of thee and thou is, in French, the last degree of familiarity and insolence.

6

his personal reluctance to ascend the throne. We cannot take upon ourselves to decide how much of the spirit of Gloster actuated the Duke of Orleans, who seems, indeed, if he was not altogether a reluctant tool, to have been, at least, an intimidated and irresolute usurper; but sure we are that his elevation was the work of a knot of dirty intriguers carried on for their own purposes, and associated to a royal name, not so much for his advancement as their own. They succeeded for a moment; but after an ephemeral favour, the new monarch took an early opportunity of turning round upon them, and they are now bewailing in poverty and obscurity the defeat of their hopes and the ingratitude of Louis Philippe. The days are passed when the triumphant Richard sent his greedy asssociate and creator, Buckingham, to the block; but, with a due allowance for the change of manners, the course is substantially the same--and Louis Philippe has abandoned Lafitte to bankruptcy and the miserable resource of a scanty and unpaid public subscription.

But we must bring this article to a conclusion, though we have by no means exhausted the interesting subjects which Mazas treats. The remaining and greater part of the work relates in detail the final journey of the royal family to the coast. He rejoined them on the route, with the intention of partaking their exile; they at first accepted his services—but circumstances obliged the unhappy fugitives to narrow the number of their attendants, and Mazas expresses a generous regret at being one of those unavoidably left behind.

Our readers will see that this work opens many curious scenes of the late fatal drama hitherto little known, and leads us to expect future information concerning the practices by which the catastrophe was brought about; and it is comfortable to have additional reason to hope that, if Louis Philippe be not the greatest hypocrite that ever lived, bis conduct, though not distinguished by highminded generosity, may have been at least fair and honest; that he lent his countenance to the revolution only when the mischief bad become inevitable,when his refusal might have produced general anarchy; that his first wish was to preserve the monarchy for its rightful possessors; and that if he has finally occupied the throne in his own right, he has been driven to do so by the ambition, the ingratitude, the folly, and the crimes of others, and not instigated by any original bad passions of his own.

On the whole, it is now evident and admitted, even by the chief actors in it, that the revolution of July was not a national movement,—that it was guided by no national object, and that it has accomplished no national good. Ever since the restoration, a party, small in numbers, but wealthy, clever, and active, had been preaching sedition through the press, of which it had made itself master, in the chambers, of which it formed the loudest if not the most eloquent portion,-and in the cafés and salons, where opposition to any existing government is the fashion, and the only fashion that never changes.

master,

Before the intrigues, the speeches, the libels, the songs of this party, the moderate, discreet, and truly constitutional ministries of Richelieu, Villèle, and Martignac had successively fallen; and it became as certain as any problem in mathematics that the existing forms and practice of the constitution were inadequate to its own preservation. The high-minded integrity and liberal policy of Richelieu-the financial success and internal prosperity that crowned the measures of Villèle, the conscientious candour and scrupulous constitutionality of Martignac's administrationhad obviously exhausted all that mere moderation and conciliation could do. A firmer purpose and bolder measures were the only experiment which remained to be tried; that consideration determined the appointment of MM. de Polignac and Peyronnet. They no doubt were firm and bold; and had they, to these qualities, added the most ordinary share of discretion and foresight, it is certain that they would have been successful in their first and immediate object, and it is probable that they might ultimately have reconciled the principle of popular representation with the stability of government and the due authority of the crown. But the rashness and imprévoyance of Polignac, the irresolution and blindness of Marmont, and the lamentable delusion and inactivity of the king and the dauphin, played the game of the disaffected, and gave to their hasty, though long premeditated, revolt the fatal character-and at last the irresistible force of a national revolution.

The king was dethroned ; and, as if that catastrophe were not enough to satisfy the evil destiny of the elder branch, they were so deplorably ill-advised as to uncrown themselves and to crown their adversary by the double abdication. A sedition had dethroned them de facto-their own abdication confirmed it de jure. A theorist has said, and phrasemongers have repeated, that history is philosophy teaching by example.' Alas ! such examples never teach. The utter and even ridiculous failure of Buonaparte's abdication — if history could teach conduct- should bave warned Charles and his son of the utter inefficiency of such a course for any good purpose. It forfeits de facto and de jure the existing rights without conferring one jot of authority on those of the intended successor. After all, it is perhaps fortunate that this weak device failed of its object; if the revolutionists had consented to accept the Duke of Bordeaux as a puppet king, they might, under his empty name, have done, without check or control, whatever their ignorance, their passions, or their ambition might have suggested, and it is

impossible impossible to say what confusion might have arisen, and what atrocities might not have been committed in the struggle of parties to possess themselves of the authority of the phantom monarch. Instead of this, they have been obliged to submit to a sovereigo who at least is a reality'-whatever his 'charter' may be; who has now no ulterior ambition to gratify; whose interest and wish it must equally be to preserve peace abroad, and good order and subordination at home ; and who, under the temporary popularity of an usurper, has been able to take measures of coercion for the present and of security for the future, which no legitimate sovereign could have ventured to imagine.

• The state of siege,' and the bold and bloody, yet necessary and justifiable suppression of the sedition in June, 1832, have quieted matters for the present; and the construction of a circle of fortresses round Paris-under the flimsy and disgraceful pretext of guarding against foreign invasion, but for the real and convenient (though not very constitutional) purpose of bridling that turbulent town—will transfer the national force from the populace to the army, and to him who can maintain an ascendency over the army. When Marshal Soult shall have finished the fourteen new Bastilles, for the erection of which the reformed chamber of France has voted so many millions, we shall hear of no more revolutions made by the Faubourg St. Antoine-or the gentlemen of the press'-or the Elèves of the schools ; and so weary is France of her forty years of liberty, that she not only consents to enormous pecuniary burdens to accomplish this astonishing tyranny, but she consents to it for a reason which in other times would have made every Frenchman's blood boil with indignation--namely, that foreign armies can, when they please, march upresisted to the very barriers of Paris !

Another circumstance has had a very great effect in consolidating the present and perhaps the future power of the reigning dynasty--we mean the insane incursion of the Duchess of Berri into France, and the lamentable frailty which the result of that incursion has detected. It is painful in the deepest degree to speak of a womau—of a woman in adversity—in terms of personal censure; but when a woman turns a political crusader, she roluntarily divests herself of that otherwise inviolable respect to which her sex is entitled: and when, by a political extravagance, she solicits the attention of all the world, it is doubly unpardonable that she should-in the most critical public circumstances, and in the moment most unfortunate, most ruinous to herself, her friends, her family, and her country-exhibit those personal frailties, which, blameable in private life, become scandalous when obtruded on the public. Attached as we are to the principles of constitutional liberty, and believing them to be safest under an hereditary monarchy, we

hoped

hoped and believed-vay, we still do hope and believe, that, if Henry V. shall live, France may at last find a resting place, from half a century of agitation, under his constitutional sceptre-with these sentiments, we deeply regretted, as did

did every sensible Frenchman, even of what is called the Carlist party—the premature and inconsiderate attempt of the Duchess of Berri. We saw that it was made too soon-on erroneous principles, and by an inadequate and improper agent; but while we disapproved as politicians, we, as men, admired and respected the heroic devotion of a mother! When, however, the fatal denouement arrived—when we heard of the other motive which may have induced the unhappy lady to leave the pure and unsullied bosom of her own family to seek—not princely glory, but-personal obscurity, in the fastnesses of La Vendée

We can go no farther—we pause in astonishment and sorrowin painful sympathy with the million of honest hearts in France, who have been crushed by this calamity, and with, above all,

the other members of that admirable and august family, which, for fifty years, has suffered calumny, persecution, exile, torture, and death-but never shame before.

ART. VII.—The Port-Admiral; a Tale of the War. By the

Author of Cavendish. 3 vols. London. 1833. SOME few attempts have of late years been made to introduce

a species of nautical novels into the light and popular literature both of this country and of the United States ; but we cannot very highly compliment our authors, at least, on their success in this department. The truth is, they come forward under the great disadvantage of their readers being constantly reminded of something better, and compelled to contrast those original and incomparable productions of Roderick Random and Peregrine Pickle with the comparatively feeble and spiritless compositions of the present day.* The coarsest phrases of sea-slang, now nearly exploded, unseasoned and unmitigated with any portion of that genuine humour which Smollelt so well knew how to infuse into an uncouth phraseology, so as to make it amusing to every class of readers, are stuffed into these modern productions in their naked deformity. Captain Marryat far outshines his rivals in this school; but his novels may in point of fact be said to be good, as novels go, in spite, rather than by reason of, their nautical dialogues. The shrewd sagacity of his general views of human nature is the real support of that hasty but vigorous writer. Having glanced into - Cavendish,' one of the most vulgar and

Were it selon les regles to criticise articles in contemporary journals, we should not have omitted this opportunity of saying something of the often admirable dantical sketches of Tom Cringle,' in Blackwood's Magazine.

witless

« PreviousContinue »